A REVERSED REVERSAL OF NEPA RULES

Last week, through the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) publication of a final rule at the close of phase one of a two-phase rulemaking process, the Biden administration began its efforts to reverse the prior administration’s reworking of the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess environmental, social, and economic impacts of any activities those agencies are seeking to undertake. The list of such actions is broad, but …

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Study Finds Microplastics in Human Lung Tissue

Less than one month after the release of a study showing the discovery of microplastics in human blood, reported by the Environmental Law Monitor here, scientists have discovered microplastics in the lungs of living individuals. The study, out of Hull York Medical School in England and published in Science of the Total Environment, found 39 microplastics in 11 of 13 lung tissue samples collected during thoracic surgical procedures on living patients. Samples were taken from upper, middle, and lower lobe specimens following surgical …

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The SEC Warns Registrants – ESG is No Longer a Slogan on the Gym Wall

If ESG were merely a slogan on the proverbial gym wall, companies are about to be held accountable for their public promises of climate change and sustainability focused ambitions.  Last month the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed significant rule changes to the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and SEC Act of 1934.  If enacted, the proposed amendment, formally known as The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, will require the full disclosure of climate change risks, by domestic and foreign registrants alike, …

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Vampires Beware: Microplastics in Human Blood

A group of scientists recently unveiled new data from a study that showed plastic in participants’ blood. Out of 22 study participants, 17 contained plastic in their blood; that is 77% of the test group.

Researchers examined blood samples from the healthy participants looking to detect plastics ranging in size between 700 and 500,000 nanometers. For perspective, 700 nm is approximately 140 times smaller than the width of a human strand of hair. The most widely detected plastic found in half of the tested blood …

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The Department of Energy Releases a Groundbreaking Strategy to Protect America’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

Hoping to one day overtake Norway as the world’s largest clean energy producer and to join the small group of countries who have achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. has set some ambitious goals for itself. In fact, the United States has committed to achieving 100% clean electricity production by 2035 and attaining net zero gas emissions by 2050. From where it ranks currently in both these categories, meeting these lofty goals will require not only a sizeable investment in clean energy technologies …

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European Union’s Lilial Ban Puts Social Media Microscope on U.S. Products Containing the Chemical Compound

Lilial, the trade name of a chemical compound commonly used as a perfume in cosmetics, shampoos, and cleaning products, which is known by its longer name butylphenyl methylpropional, has been banned in personal care products in the European Union as of March 1, 2022. And while the ban was announced nearly two years ago, the March 1deadline has garnered significant attention, prompting social media users to call attention products produced in the United States that contain the ingredient.

By way of background, in August 2020, …

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Crypto: A Virtual Currency with Real-Life Energy Consequences

Although only 16% of Americans have personally invested in or exchanged cryptocurrencies, the ever-increasing use of this virtual currency in the U.S. will have very real ramifications for virtually all Americans. Arguably, the most consequential effect concerns the significant energy consumption required to mine cryptocurrencies, and its potential to act as a hindrance in the battle against climate change, as illustrated by a growing concern among several committees within the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as by an ongoing battle over a crypto-mining moratorium …

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Ranchers, Environmentalists, and Indigenous Communities Lock Arms Against Homegrown Lithium

Thanks to the streaming mega hit Yellowstone, and perhaps Kim and Kanye’s brief stint in Wyoming, the West is no longer reserved for John Wayne wanna-bes and would-be snowboarders or adventurers looking to escape metropolis. In fact, our western states, historically rural and rugged, have attracted what some would consider too much attention, drawing not just the tourism of city slickers, but also the attention of big industry. While some westerners welcome industrial development and the resulting increase in job opportunities, many today are concerned …

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California Court Hears Plaintiff’s Expert Testimony in Bellwether Baby Food Toxic Metals Case

On February 3, 2022 a Los Angeles County, California judge concluded an early evidentiary hearing centered on the opinions from four of the plaintiff’s experts in one of the nation’s first lawsuits over baby food allegedly contaminated with toxic metals. In what is known in California as a Sargon hearing, the defendants asked the court to evaluate “whether reliable scientific evidence exists that lead, arsenic, and/or mercury (the “heavy metals”) can cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and whether lead can cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder …

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Microplastics Suits on the Uptick

* This article is a follow-up to our October 2021 post “No Asylum from Microplastics: How Recent Studies May Spark a Flood of Environmental Litigation.”

It was inevitable. As soon as the media mentioned that microplastics were found in babies’ fecal matter—our most innocent demographic—the proverbial gloves came off, and now plastics manufacturers are in the arena sustaining blows from all angles.

Backstory

Truth bomb: It is estimated that the once esteemed and widespread use of plastics in manufacturing, dating back …

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